The World’s Serious Just Got Serious

. . . in a seriously bad way, given that the New York Mets went Chernobyl in Game 4.

The gruesome details, via Newsday:

Nightmare eighth inning leaves Mets with 3-1 deficit in World Series

The Mets could see new life. As the end of a tense evening neared, only six outs stood between them and a fresh start in the 111th World Series.image

Then cruelty descended upon Citi Field. Suddenly the Mets could not throw strikes. They could not field grounders. They could not summon the resolve that powered their most charmed summer in 15 years.

Now, after a 5-3 loss to the Royals in Game 4 of the World Series, they face the daunting task of needing to win three straight games to capture their first title since 1986.

Or, more likely, the Royals could capture their first title since 1985.

Regardless, hope springs (or falls) eternal.

We’ll know better tonight.

(Tip o’ the pixel to Ring Lardner’s classic A World’s Serious)

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Dead Blogging ‘Choice’ at Calderwood Pavilion

Well the Missus and I trundled down to the South End Saturday to catch the Huntington Theatre Company production of Choice (through November 15) and say, it was . . . swellish.

The cast – especially Connie Ray and Madeline Wise – is terrific. The staging is entirely impressive. And the dialogue is generally smart and funny.

But here’s the -ish:

The play itself (by Winnie Holzman, whose writing credits include the hit musical Wicked and the smash TV series “My So-Called Life”) is kind of meh, a concept in search of an execution. It also – like so many other contemporary dramas – suffers from climax interruptus, a debilitating condition whose major symptom is a second act that leaves the audience largely unsatisfied.

Still worth seeing, though, at least to us.

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Good Grey Lady Opens the Kimono (Full Frontal Nudity Edition)

This has to be a first for the New York Times.

From Friday’s Weekend Arts II section.


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Money screenshot:


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Is it just us? Or is this a Timesworthy moment in the Without Fear or Favor tradition of Adolph Ochs?

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New York Times Gets Yahoodwinked by Toyota Ad Exec

Fact #1: This Sunday, Yahoo will live-stream from London an NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fact #2: Yahoo has sold ads during the game to over 30 advertisers.

Fact #3: A Toyota advertising executive apparently (we don’t want to say lied) misled the  New York Times about the cost of the ads.

From Friday’s Good Grey Lady:

Advertisers Flock To N.F.L. on Yahoo

Yahoo’s global webcast of the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game Sunday morning from London is the type of event that 23yahoo-web-master675Jack Hollis, group vice president for marketing at Toyota Motors in the United States, did not want the automaker to miss. He did not care much about audience projections. He just wanted Toyota to be part of it, and agreed to buy commercial time almost as soon as Yahoo announced its deal with the National Football League.

“You don’t get a chance to be part of firsts very often,” Mr. Hollis said. “And, from a Toyota standpoint, I like to be part of historic firsts. And as a process of our partnerships with Yahoo and the N.F.L., it was an easy decision.” Toyota will sponsor the game’s halftime show and Dairy Queen is sponsoring the pregame show.

Money quote:

Yahoo announced on Thursday that more than 30 advertisers would present spots during the game and that the webcast was sold out. It did not reveal the cost of the ads, but Mr. Hollis said it was comparable to the price of commercial time on traditional televised N.F.L. games.

Except . . .

That’s not even close to being true.

According to APM’s Marketplace:

Showing an NFL game at 9:30 on a Sunday morning, from London, online-only is an experiment. Which may explain why the cost for a 30 second ad during the game is reportedly $50,000. Or, according to Michael Leeds, a sports economist at Temple University, “very low.”

The same ad, noted Leeds, during Sunday afternoon football on TV could cost 14 times as much.

In other words, Toyota’s Jack Hollis sold the New York Times a lemon.

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The Weekly Standard Gives Alex Beam a Shoutout

Boston Strange!

The Hub’s proudest contrarian has popped up in the current edition of The Weekly Standard’s ever-lively Scrapbook.

The Cosby Crisis

If one good thing comes out of the Bill Cosby Crisis, The Scrapbook is fairly certain what it will be. For as the New York Times reported in a recent story, the 60 or so institutions of bill cosbyhigher learning in America that have, during the past few decades, conferred honorary degrees on Bill Cosby are now agonizing about what to do. Some have chosen not to act in response to the allegations against Cosby; others have officially revoked their degrees; still more have rules against such retroactive gestures.

As readers might have guessed, The Scrapbook pleads the Fifth Amendment on this question. What colleges and universities do in these circumstances is their own business; and in any case, honorary degrees are essentially meaningless.

How meaningless? Go ask Alex.

Indeed, as the Boston Globe’s Alex Beam once memorably demonstrated, even Cosby’s “earned” doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts is essentially honorary.

(The hardsearching staff tried to find a link to that memorable piece, but we failed miserably. Perhaps the author himself can help us out with that.)

In either case, memo to Mr. Beam: We read The Weekly Standard so you don’t have to.

You’re welcome.

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To Know Trump (‘Donald the Menace’ Edition)

As if Donald Trump wasn’t enough of a cartoon, a focus group in Indianapolis this week was asked to compare the GOP candidates to fictional characters, and Trump came through – as he might say – incredible.

Sort of.

Via NBC News:

The GOP Presidential Field As Cartoon Characters

If the Republican presidential candidates were cartoon characters, who would they be?

Over more than two hours on Tuesday night, pollster Peter Hart asked a focus group of Republican voters in Indianapolis a battery of questions about the 2016 hopefuls. While their answers included thoughtful assessments of policy positions and incisive observations about each candidate’s style, it may have been the cartoons that were the most revealing.

Asked to match the 2016 hopefuls with a fictional character, these voters managed to capture some core perceived traits of the hopeful next leaders of the free world. Here’s how they described some of the 2016 hopefuls — quite literally, in two dimensions.

Money quote . . .

Read the rest at Dustup 2016.

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Dead Blogging ‘West Side Story’ at the Strand Theatre

Well the Missus and I trundled over to Uphams Corner to catch the Fiddlehead Theatre Company production of West Side Story and say, it felt pretty . . . swell.


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The Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim retelling of Romeo and Juliet is wonderful material to work with, and director Stacey Stephens does a notable job of retelling it once again. The staging is dynamic, Wendy Hall’s choreography is delightfully kinetic, and the cast is uniformly terrific.

Special mention should go to Theo Lencicki as Riff and Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva as Bernardo. The voices of Kim Corbett’s Maria and Jeffrey Zicker’s Tony blend beautifully, and Pamela Turpen fairly sizzles as Anita.

It’s at the Strand through next weekend. Seriously, go see it.


Two things the Missus and I noted:

1) This production drew the most diverse audience we’ve seen since we went to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus six years ago.

2) The audience was infinitely better-behaved than any we’ve encountered on Broadway in umpteen years.

Just sayin’.

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Dead Blogging ‘Leap Before You Look’ at the ICA

Well the Missus and I trundled downtown yesterday to catch Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art and say, it was . . . actually accessible.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really smart enough to understand most of what the ICA exhibits, but this show turns out to be the rare exception.


A small, experimental liberal arts college founded in 1933, Black Mountain College (BMC) has exerted enormous influence on the postwar cultural life of the United States. Influenced by the utopian ideals of the progressive education movement, it placed the arts at the center of liberal arts education and believed that in doing so it could better educate citizens for participation in a democratic society. It was a dynamic crossroads for refugees from Europe and an emerging generation of American artists. Profoundly interdisciplinary, it offered equal attention to painting, weaving, sculpture, pottery, poetry, music, and dance.

Everyone went to Black Mountain: “Figures such as Anni and Josef Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Ruth Asawa, Robert Motherwell, Gwendolyn and Jacob Knight Lawrence, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley, among many others, taught and studied at BMC.”

Representative samples in the exhibit include Willem de Kooning’s Asheville:


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Jacob Lawrence’s Watchmaker:


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And Neck Piece by Anni Albers and Alexander Reed.


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In related news:

Last week’s WSJ Magazine featured an engaging Carol Kino piece about Black Mountain College.

And the Boston Globe’s redoubtable Sebastian Smee filed this review, which is smarter than anything I could ever muster.

But I can say one thing:

This exhibit – which includes recreations of poetry readings and dance performances – is thoroughly impressive and entirely enjoyable. You have until January 24 to catch it.

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We Are All Mets Now

Sweet win for the New York Mets in last night’s NLDS Game 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Full disclosure: Before the hardworking staff was a Made Yankee Fan in Boston (check out our excellent new header photo!), we were a Made Mets Fan in Cincinnati (no Facebook back then), where we did a seven-year hitch from 1967 to 1974.

(We were still a Made Yankee Fan as well, but the Bronx Bummers kind of sucked back then.)

Mostly, we just wanted to pit the Big Town against Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, whose insufferability we have previously chronicled in detail.

And we had a pretty good run during that stretch.

To wit:

The Mets beat the Orioles 4-1 in the 1969 World’s Serious.

Happily, the Orioles beat the Reds 4-1 in the ’70 Serious.

Also happily, the A’s beat the Reds 4-3 in the ’72 Serious.

Not so happily, the A’s beat the Mets 4-3 in the ’73 Serious.

But . . .

The Mets did beat the Reds 3-2 in the ’73 NLCS, a series that featured the legendary Pete Rose/Bud Harrelson dustup in Game 3.



And now, a decade and a half after the 2000 Subway Series stirred – but did not shake – our happy home, I proudly join the Missus in saying:

Let’s Go Mets!

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You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way Dylan Blows

It’s not like the Bard of Hibbing hasn’t gone commercial before. There was that 2004 Victoria’s Secret ad, which featured Dylan on LuciferCam.



And, of course, Dylan’s 2014 Chrysler Super Bowl spot.



But this new one is the worst.

Great headline from Jonathan Vanian at Fortune:

Bob Dylan gets tangled up in Big Blue

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Bob Dylan stars in a new IBM commercial in which he talks to Watson, the Jeopardy winning computer.

Legendary songwriter Bob Dylan, whose anti-establishment lyrics served as a rallying cry for a generation, is now hawking IBM’s data crunching service Watson.

The folk rock icon stars in an IBM commercial that premiered this week in which he talks with the Watson supercomputer about music, love, and, of course, its knack for coming up with smart answers. IBM is trying to push Watson as a key technology service that could help put an end the company’s declining revenues.

Dylan’s credentials include a songbook of lyrics that attack the government, war, and, occasionally, corporations. In It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), he famously sang, “Advertising signs, they con you into thinking you’re the one, that can do what’s never been done.”

In this case, Dylan’s doing what’s already been done – cashing in.



Hey, Bob: doo-be-doo-be-don’t, just for once, eh?

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